As part of my “re-spiritualization” process (a fancy term for finding space and time to include reflection and reading and silence with God in my pregnancy & toddler & work-filled life), I committed to read the whole Bible this year.
Somehow I managed to get through Leviticus. (Hallelujah! – what a horrible book – I wish it wasn’t there!!!) If anyone has some insight/recommendations on how to find meaning in it, I will gratefully take your advice!)
Thankfully I am now working through 1& 2 Samuel. The story of David is much more compelling than the lists of don’ts and diseases and other disconcerting issues in Leviticus.
Don’t get me wrong. As I read through the OT, there are so many things I don’t “get”. Like the gruesome violence. And the treatment of women (their near-complete absence from the texts, but also the general disregard for their personhood and men treating them awfully close to animals). I don’t understand why God protected David – against all odds – and why he allowed an evil spirit to overcome Saul. And of course I don’t get why God continues to protect some and not others. These are all tensions I carry every morning as I read. Tensions I’ll continue to work through (and will likely develop into future blog content. 🙂
But even amid all these questions, I find glimpses of hope. The reason I find the story of David compelling is his love and his brokenness. The humanity of it all. How his story was one of intrigue and violence and sin, and he knew it. And he fell before the feet of God constantly. Or danced naked in the street in wild abandon. He was a free spirit who knew he didn’t measure up. I think it must have been that attitude that created the foundation for his profound experience as the ‘man after God’s heart.’
There are a few other things that stick out in the Old Testament. Like how the lineage of Jesus was full of people on the margins. The Rahabs and the Bathshebas and shepherd boys and the folks that wouldn’t normally fit a “royal” bill.
It gives me some hope. That God wants our love and devotion through it all. That acknowledging our brokenness is his actual desire. So that he then can make us whole.
There’s this card I gave Steve a while back.
“It’s not in the falling, it’s in the staying there.”
Isn’t that beautiful? And not just in terms of a marriage relationship, but some insight for God too. That is faith. That is the calling. To stay there. Even when he is silent, or we feel ill-equipped, or it’s hard.
Hope. Stubborn belief. May that be my faith.